Friday 29 August 2014

How to make a River Song Journal cover for your eBook on the cheap and with limited supplies

Long title. Sorry about that. This is your how-to guide (with photos!) on making a River Song Journal style cover for your eBook if you have little money and few supplies on hand. I'm currently working remotely from a guest house in The South and had some free time and the creative urge and a need for a cover for my new Kobo. I don't have any of my usual sewing or art supplies so I had to use what was available with one quick trip to the nearest Micheal's.
My version of the River Song journal book cover.
Please note that this is not super professional or amazing but for a few dollars and a few hours, I am happy with the result. There are other tutorials on the interwebs that have nicer end products and you can order some on etsy but I wanted to do something with my hands. So I thought I'd share. 

Tuesday 29 April 2014

A to Z 2014: Zip ties

{For the month of April I will be blogging alphabetically on the topic of travel tips.}

Ending on a bit of a boring note. But hey, we made it! A month of blog posts about travel tips. Hope it was helpful for some people. Today we're talking zip ties. For security.

Zip tie on the zipper.

Monday 28 April 2014

A to Z 2014: YOLO

{For the month of April I will be blogging alphabetically on the topic of travel tips.}

Yes, I know, that is such a lame title. The thing is, that's kind of the attitude one should have when going on adventures.

I'm feeding teh kitteh!!!

Sunday 27 April 2014

A to Z 2014: X-Ray

{For the month of April I will be blogging alphabetically on the topic of travel tips.}

If you fly, your stuff will have to pass through an x-ray machine. Please be prepared for this before it is your turn to put your shoes in the trey.

Carry on liquids.

Friday 25 April 2014

A to Z 2014: Water

{For the month of April I will be blogging alphabetically on the topic of travel tips.}

Water. It seems so simple yet can it can get complicated while travelling.


Caribbean water.

Thursday 24 April 2014

A to Z 2014: Visa

{For the month of April I will be blogging alphabetically on the topic of travel tips.}

I'm not talking about your credit card. We covered that already. I refer to entry visas, of course.


My favourite visa. So pretty.

Wednesday 23 April 2014

A to Z 2014: Umbrella

{For the month of April I will be blogging alphabetically on the topic of travel tips.}

Will you need an umbrella or a rain coat? How much SFP will I need in my moisturizer? Part of checking the weather is understanding precipitation and humidity.


The infamous yellow umbrella

Tuesday 22 April 2014

A to Z 2014: Transportation

{For the month of April I will be blogging alphabetically on the topic of travel tips.}

There are so many modes of transportation around the globe! You should try them!


OBB Trains are the best!
Besides planes, trains and automobiles... There are tonnes of country-specific vehicles to ride.

Monday 21 April 2014

A to Z 2014: Shoes and Shirts

{For the month of April I will be blogging alphabetically on the topic of travel tips.}

Planning out what footwear and clothing to pack is super important! Know what the climate will be like where you are going and if there are any special considerations for modesty you need to be aware of.


The perfect pair for a week in Asia.

Sunday 20 April 2014

A to Z 2014: Research

{For the month of April I will be blogging alphabetically on the topic of travel tips.}

DO YOUR RESEARCH!!! I've mentioned this a bunch of times already. You might think you're a free spirit and you'll just go where the wind takes you but there are things you NEED to know before you go. Things that will make or break your trip.


We stayed at a gorgeous Spanish parador in Ceuta for cheap because I did my research on line.

Friday 18 April 2014

A to Z 2014: Queue

{For the month of April I will be blogging alphabetically on the topic of travel tips.}

One of my favourite "Q" words: queue. It looks like you should say 'kwee-uw' or something. But no, just 'q'. Oh, and how one queues can be so different in different places!


Western style line up.

Thursday 17 April 2014

A to Z 2014: Power Bar

{For the month of April I will be blogging alphabetically on the topic of travel tips.}

Travelling with a power bar has made life so much easier!


All power bars should have plug configurations like this.

Wednesday 16 April 2014

A to Z 2014: Open Mind

{For the month of April I will be blogging alphabetically on the topic of travel tips.}

When experiencing new cultures one needs to keep an open mind. Things that seem odd or even wrong to you, may well be perfectly normal where you are. (And vice versa! Be patient with foreigners in your country!)


Durian is delicious once you give it a chance!

Tuesday 15 April 2014

A to Z 2014: Negotiations

{For the month of April I will be blogging alphabetically on the topic of travel tips.}

When you're visiting a different culture, you may have to look at everything as a constant negotiation. Things may seem strange so you'll need to adapt.


Tourist boats negotiating their way through a floating market in Thailand.

Monday 14 April 2014

A to Z 2014: Maps

{For the month of April I will be blogging alphabetically on the topic of travel tips.}

If you're travelling, you'll need a map. Thankfully we have more options these days than in the past!


Always pull off to the side if you're going to open up a map.

Sunday 13 April 2014

A to Z 2014: Language Apps

{For the month of April I will be blogging alphabetically on the topic of travel tips.}

Not everyone speaks English. Be respectful. Try to learn at least a few words in the national language of the country in which you are a guest. There are lots of great apps to help.


"Dry Ginger Ale"

Friday 11 April 2014

A to Z 2014: Kilograms

{For the month of April I will be blogging alphabetically on the topic of travel tips.}

This is the post about luggage. L was taken. 


Can you lift your backpack?

Thursday 10 April 2014

A to Z 2014: Junk

{For the month of April I will be blogging alphabetically on the topic of travel tips.}

If you're going anywhere even remotely touristy, there will be hawkers trying to sell you junk. And it starts to look the same from one town to the next...


The old town of Hoi An is all tourist shops now.

Wednesday 9 April 2014

A to Z 2014: Invest

{For the month of April I will be blogging alphabetically on the topic of travel tips.}

Invest your money, time and heart into travel. Be invested.


I'd dreamt of visiting Italy for so long...

Tuesday 8 April 2014

A to Z 2014: Healthcare

{For the month of April I will be blogging alphabetically on the topic of travel tips.}

Nobody plans to get sick or injured on vacation but this is a possibility. Be prepared!


Getting vaccinated.

Monday 7 April 2014

A to Z 2014: Guided Tours

{For the month of April I will be blogging alphabetically on the topic of travel tips.}

This was always something I was hesitant about. Only old people book tours, right? Maybe not...


Our tour group in the medina of Tétouan, Morocco.

Sunday 6 April 2014

A to Z 2014: Food

{For the month of April I will be blogging alphabetically on the topic of travel tips.}

There are so many reasons to travel. So many. One of my absolute favourites is the food. There are flavours around the world that you haven't experienced yet! Go find them!

Thailand is so tasty!

Friday 4 April 2014

A to Z 2014: Entertainment

{For the month of April I will be blogging alphabetically on the topic of travel tips.}

Are you not entertained? No? Then bring some with you!

No matter how epic and exciting your trip plans may be, there is a chance you will want some down time. At the very least, you might be killing some time in airports.


Reading on a train.

Thursday 3 April 2014

A to Z 2014: Debit Card

{For the month of April I will be blogging alphabetically on the topic of travel tips.}

Debit card or Credit card? How much cash should I bring? Gone are the days of travellers' cheques! Not that I have ever even seen one. This is another issue that you will have to do some research on and will depend greatly on where you are going.


I'm a millionaire!!! (In Indonesia Rupiah.)

Wednesday 2 April 2014

A to Z 2014: Camera

{For the month of April I will be blogging alphabetically on the topic of travel tips.}

Choosing your camera is a pretty big deal. You should not be buying a new camera just before a big trip. You'll want some time to get used to it. Learn the features.

Find some shade to check your work.

Tuesday 1 April 2014

A to Z 2014: Baño

{For the month of April I will be blogging alphabetically on the topic of travel tips.}

Two things you should know about using the washroom in other countries: what are they called and how do they work?


Airports tend to be pretty safe.

Monday 31 March 2014

A to Z 2014: Airports and Airplanes

{For the month of April I will be blogging alphabetically on the topic of travel tips.}

Before you leave for your trip, make sure you know the layout of the airports and airplanes through which you will be travelling. This can save you a lot of hassle while in transit.

My husband and I nearly always select our seats ahead of time. For him, it's because he's tall and tries to get a spot with extra legroom and for me, I really prefer the window. I stare out of it compulsively and for some reason, sitting further into the middle makes me feel a little claustrophobic. 


Tell me this view isn't worth it?

Sunday 30 March 2014

Blogging from A to Z 2014: Travel Tips (An Introduction)

Welcome to the 2014 Blogging A to Z Challenge!



I haven't been blogging much this year but most of what I have shared has been about travel. I've been doing a lot of that lately! It's exciting and exhausting so I thought I'd share some tips for those interested. There are lots of travel sites out there so this might not be all that original but I've definitely learned a few things that I hadn't read anywhere so maybe this could help someone! Hope you enjoy!

Friday 17 January 2014

Vietnam for Christmas! Day 10 - Hanoi

Our last day in Vietnam was spent walking around Hanoi again. This time with a wider berth. I think we'll do this in photos again...


Military dudes walking up and down the sidewalk in front of the Federal Government Office.

Vietnam for Christmas! Day 9 - Hanoi

For our first full day in Hanoi, we followed a walking tour that Alyssa had found in the guide book she bought. I think this will be another photo post.

We three teas of orient are... delicious. Lunch at The Little Black Duck is highly recommended!

Vietnam for Christmas! Day 8 - Hanoi

It was the drive from Ha Long City back to Haiphong where I was most struck by the beautiful architecture. This is when I really started taking pictures. Which became awkward because the windows of the train from Haiphong to Hanoi were very foggy. This post will be filled with foggy photos. Sorry.


Duplex, Vietnamese style!

Vietnam for Christmas! Day 7 - Ha Long Bay

If you've been following along, you might noticed that I skipped Day 6. That was basically a transit day. We had an early afternoon flight from Da Nang to Haiphong via propeller plane. Then it was a three hour drive (because our driver wouldn't go faster than 40km/h) to our hotel in Ha Long City. We had a disappointing dinner at the hotel and went to bed early. Not worth a whole post. Ha Long Bay, however...


Karsts in the mist.

Vietnam for Christmas! Day 5 - Hoi An

We really only had one day in Hoi An. (Two sleeps.) So we just did the touristy things. And boy-o was this a touristy town!


Being super touristy.

Vietnam for Christmas! Day 4 - Ho Chi Minh City

Merry Christmas! Our fourth day in Vietnam was Christmas day. We spend the day wandering around Saigon and ended the day at the airport to fly up to Hoi An.

We started with another lovely breakfast at the hotel.

Amazing bread!

Vietnam for Christmas! Day 3 - Ho Chi Minh City

Our third day in Vietnam was spent on a bus. About three hours each way to visit the Cao Đài Holy See and Củ Chi Tunnels. These are two fascinating pieces of Vietnamese history and culture.
Worshippers in the Temple.

Vietnam for Christmas! Day 2 - Ho Chi Minh City

Our second day in Saigon started off early with an amazing breakfast. 


Mini pho for breakfast!

Vietnam for Christmas! Day 1 - Ho Chi Minh City

For Christmas 2013 my husband Evan and I, along with our friend Alyssa, did a quick trip to Vietnam. Ten days in this complex country isn't really enough but it's what we had. Our destinations were all "H" cities: Ho Chi Minh, Hoi An, Ha Long and Ha Noi.

People like to ask, "What was your favourite part?" or "What surprised you the most?" Vietnamese food has been some of my absolute favourite for years (shout out to Viva on Sargent!) and the country did not disappoint! The second 'favourite' thing and most surprising was the beautiful architecture. It was like a modern take on French Colonial with Asian flare. Stunning! I wish I had thought to take more pictures early on. Both of these themes will come up throughout this trip blog. Consider them the main motifs.

I should also note that this trip was inspired, in part, by Top Gear and Anthony Bourdain.

We flew in to Ho Chi Minh City (AKA Saigon) on a Sunday afternoon. Our day started super early so we were tired but excited to jump in!


Our first glimpse of Vietnam from the taxi.

Thursday 9 January 2014

13 in 2013

I'm a bad blogger. I've done the A to Z challenge twice where you have to blog every day for the month of April but then I go months in a row without posting anything. It's the beginning of a new year so it's time for a quick review. I'm still planning to write some blogs on travel we did this past autumn once I find the time...

Coincidentally, I read 13 books and visited 13 countries in this past year of 2013. So that's how my review is going to go this year. In chronological order (note that the Philippines has been our temporary residence and all trips came and went from here this year):


1. The Philippines (The Street Lawyer by John Grisham) - I live in the Philippines right now so it seems an injustice to try to summarize it but here goes: It's really hot and the people are really nice. Done. Grisham is classic and my husband said this book changed the course of his life when he was in school so there.